Log in

[sticky post] Notes to Self about Writing Life

1. Just be yourself. Don't schmooze, don't obssess, don't get weird, don't get all theater. It's served you well, being yourself all this time. Stick with it.

2. Just write. Keep at it steadily, keep at it carefully. Do it conscientiously, do it to the best of your ability.

3. See number one again, especially when you feel insecure about number 2.

4. Believe you have a story to tell. Then don't put it off. Tell it.

5. Accept that some people will like your work, some people will not like your work, and that's okay. You write because you have a story to tell. It's nice if someone will read your story, but if they don't, well, not everyone in the world or even the Western hemisphere is going to read your story. And that is okay.

6. Writing can change the world, but is not the most important job anyone will ever have on the planet. You are not telling deep truths about the universe. You are telling a story. Get over yourself.

7. See number one and number three again, just in case you need a reality check. Never believe your own press.

8. Keep doing something you enjoy that keeps you in touch with people and makes you feel that you are making a contribution to the world, because you can turn into a mushroom if you're writing only. A strange, weird, psychologically fungal mushroom, I might add. And then you might drink.

9. Do not pass judgment on the writing of others. Do not compare your writing to the writing of others. You can have opinions about things you read, but unless you are asked, you might want to keep them to yourself, especially where other writers are concerned. Play nice.

10. Expect others to play nice with you. Avoid pseudo intellectuals and non constructive critics. Hell, you don't need them. You have your worst critic, yourself, to contend with already.

11. The industry is not the measure of your success. Attention is not the measure of your success. Of course you want to send your work out, make smart marketing decisions, and try to share. The measure of your success is stories written and sent. You can't convince the world it wants your work, but you certainly can't do anything at all unless you're telling stories.

12. Realize that success in writing, like success in anything, is really more about persistance than anything else. Write, learn to market selectively and well, and then market selectively and well. There will be a learning curve. You will battle obscurity. You will make mistakes and get rejections. BUT eventually you'll have enough circulating and people will know who you are, and you'll learn the tricks, and your writing will line up with someone's taste, and more and more things will be accepted.

13. See 1, 3, and 7 again, especially in moments of personal angst.

14. See 2 and 4 again, especially in moments of procrastination.

15. See 4, 5, 9, and 11 again, especially in moments where you lack faith.

16. See 5, 9, and 10 to remind yourself of grace.

17. See 6, 7 and 10 to remind yourself that you're not curing cancer.

18. See 8 to maintain your balance.

19. See 12 when you feel like giving it up.

20. If you're not satisified anymore, if it's causing you consternation, cease. Walk away. Writing is important. A happy life is much more important than that. Anything must give you joy for you to continue it. Don't settle.

University of Central Florida

Well, I was wrong. They do want to see me for an interview in Orlando. I got the message this Tuesday.

It's back on the table. Let's just focus on the interview. One little baby step at a time.

Still gonna try to finish NaNoWriMo too, but now I got that whole adrenaline/spaz thing.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Status Quo

Well, there's good news and there's bad news.

Although I am not 100 percent sure yet, I am fairly sure that I out at UCF for the English Language Institute position. I would have heard yesterday if I was still in. I didn't hear today, and while I'm not certain really until Friday, I expect that's it. And honestly, I'm disappointed, but I gave a really good interview that repped my personality, philosophies and skills well. I can't do better than that.

So, while I might not get a new job, there most likely won't be the thrill of living at least one year apart and scrambling to move to Florida and find a place to stay, no doubt by mid-January. That sounded like a world of pain.

I've been getting a lot of rejections lately for the novels and the shorts. Good rejections and Formy McFormerston's. Man, I gotta do something for morale, between the job and the rejections. No gets kind of old.

But hey, Bryon's new doctor is helping him reframe his stomach issues in a more positive, less anxiety laden way. We're both changing up our diet to be less acid-y to help out, and we're working on relaxation as hard as we can. :) What? I don't understand.


I'm about two days behind on word count for NaNoWriMo. It happens. I have some writing time Friday morning. While I have been going through an interview process, I'm also involved in one, and this week was about 4 candidates. I'm also trying to get some logistics set up for some student interviews in Brazil the week after we get back from Thanksgiving.

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, all the writing, the feasting (not too much, just enough) and hitting my house with a Christmas stick. Tomorrow, we have the electricians getting down and dirty with our remast as we continue bathroom quest. Stay tuned.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Essayist; Contemplation

John Scalzi writes most intelligently about the passing of his beloved Lopsided Cat. I know you all like him as an author of fiction, but the man is a hell of an essayist as well. I suppose there isn't a lot of money in being Russell Baker or Annie Dillard, but I do appreciate heartfelt nonfiction.

And it made me cry and want my cats, so you know, good writing all around. Good essay succeeds because it touches all the things in us that are human and that are common about being human. Scalzi nailed my feelings about pets here, and I suspect neither of us are unique.


This morning's question as I get ready to begin my NaNoWriMo session is this: Am I a professor who writes, am I a writer who professes, or am I a writer and a professor? I suspect I don't have an answer to that, but I will mull it over and get back to you.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

The Monster that Ate October

I think, based on my last post of length, you know that is my job. We are coming up on Halloween, and here's what's going down.

1. The new bathroom. My bathroom is now torn down to the studs. There is some spoooooky insulation still in the wall, and the builders ambitiously (and accidentally) knocked a whole through the wall into one of the spare bedrooms. Guess that's a hint about expanding the bathroom, but we aren't going to. I am sure that you will receive exciting updates, like when the new plumbing works, or when the house is remasted, stuff like that. I can feel you out there, barely breathing, on the edge of your seats.

Right now I'm showering at the Kirkwood Rec Center. Yeah. My life in a gym bag.

2. People keep rejecting me after almost accepting me. And encouraging me to write and send more. And all the stuff, good and bad that goes with that. But mostly good.

3. Halloween! The big bin of ripped out bathroom has disappeared from the yard after three days, and so Skeleton Wedding will go off as planned. Bryon has made the cake, bought the rats, and the bride is dangling from the rafters in our garage. There will be pictures.

4. I...have a job interview with the University of Central Florida. Yes, Tomorrowland has asked my to Lync in next Tuesday. It's an English Language Institute/Faculty Supervisory job that would place us right in the heart of Orlando, and would be an excellent position to be in while I finish the second half of my career. I don't know. See number 2 above. I think it might apply, but believe me, I'll let you all know if I end up moving to Orlando. And yes, Bryon and I would have loads of wrinkles to iron out, so either way is both good and bad.

5. NaNoWriMo begins very, very soon. I am signed up and ready for my fingers to fly. We are hiring a new teacher at work, so next week I get a lot of time off to write, so it'll be almost like a little mini-vacation, and I am going to crank out that first draft of Pawn of Isis, as we discussed before.

6. There are a couple of open calls for manuscripts that I will be taking advantage of, one in November, and one in the new year.

7. Bryon's mom is having more memory issues. This is Not Good (TM). He is concerned, which doesn't help his condition at all, which is also Not Good (TM). I'm still working on getting him to relax, and I'm working on him to get to a counselor. I think we're getting closer there. Of course he's going to feel bad and stressed. I know, as someone who is often anxious, that sometimes it's got to be a conscious decision to detach, even though it is hard. He is just learning that. At any rate, reporting for supportive spouse duty.

So, are you ready for Halloween? Thanksgiving? The fake and real holiday seasons? All that good stuff? Because I am so ready. Holiday cards, costumes, the smell of turkey at Granite City, hiring actors to be my family over the holidays? What? You know I don't talk to my real family. Besides, you envy me. I know you want to replace your own family at those get togethers. Yeah, really.

In all seriousness, if you have a good family, enjoy them for me this holiday season. I'll weigh in with some hot tips for those of us in recovery, as I often do in this season.

And I'm out of here for now.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Icon is Over

My, that was a lot of fun.

Icon is really becoming a con for writers. Which is cool.


Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

The Next Things

Hey folks.

I had hoped that this year would be better for blogging, but now not only does my job have teeth, it has three rows of teeth, like a shark. In protecting my psychological self, I need to have creative time, and I spend that in the more creative realms of writing fiction. I need to exercise and maintain my physical health, so I walk at lunch, and I try to exercise at other times. I actually take time to rest and do nothing at all.

What this means is that I really can't do it all, and I have to manage my time even more carefully. Throw Bryon's medical uncertainty in this mix, and what that means is a priority list that looks like this:

1. Bryon
2. Those I love in other ways
3. Creativity
4. Taking care of my body
5. Work

And that's not bad. This kind of thing, though, the journal, falls somewhere closer to number 8 now, which is altogether too bad, because I used to have a higher readership and it was a good way to build publicity and an audience. But hey, can't part the Red Sea either. Actually, I'm not sure about that. I've never given that a whirl.


Of course, I'm not necessarily convinced that I'm going to get a audience. I'm just glad I have a pension in my future, that's all I'm saying. As I've often said, publication would be lovely, but the creativity is why I'm in it, and the rest would be a lovely side effect. I was rejected by another agent who had a full today and I hardly even feel it. She said some very nice things which feels good. If I am destined to get this far, fine. I would do publicity and writing with the cool skill that I tackle my professorship with, but hey, you know, right now I can still write what I want when I want. I am my own mistress to experiment and enjoy, without the pressure of deadlines. There's some part of that journey I can appreciate and enjoy.


Let me tell you what's happening next.

This weekend is Paradise Icon. I'll get to see my Hugo winning friends Jim and Ann and bask in their reflected glory. I'll hang out most of the weekend with my pre-published friends critiquing stories. We have a reading 8-10 Saturday night, so I'll get to hear what they're up to. I'll get to see my best friends in the entire world and make plans for us to spend more time together, because I don't want anyone to have any regrets about the future, and while the future looks fine right now, it also looks uncertain.

I'm going to see David. The suicidal thoughts of which I spoke a couple of entries ago did NOT recur, thank goodness. That's a depression med danger, and when they came out of nowhere, that was frightening. However, I have spent some days nervous and jittery and I am doing really well giving Bryon the good, good wife love, but I probably need to talk through some of my fears, rational and irrational with a smarter guy than me. As with the medical system in the US, I can't get in for a month after the inciting instance, but it was already two weeks ago, so there's that.

I'm writing NaNoWriMo. I am needing some words on The Pawn of Isis, so I am getting them, a great sloppy inchoate mass of words that I can work with. After November, I'll let them cool off and return to the brothers troll from Decorah. I'll rescue about a third of that book, change the focus, and resurrect in true Wonderbook style. I need a new title, since the devil will no longer be in the story. Nope, it'll be a book about sibling rivalry.

My main writing goals for 2016 are to get out of it with two new books--a YA and another Klaereon stand alone. Then we'll go pitching again, as well as mailing. Meanwhile, I'll spend this year sending out Vessel, finishing up the last query vestiges of Abby Rath and The Ground is Full of Teeth, and keep at least 10 shorts making the rounds. The only thing I don't have time for right now is that serial I'd like to do. But you know. Three rows of teeth. Shredded fish. Fake paranoid cancer threat. Honestly, given my parameters, I'm kicking butt.

All this could change if I were to... I don't know...get an agent and sell a book. It's not a totally remote possibility. Like Bryon's stomach though, we're going to play along with what is current now and only modify when we have to.


Okay. So the other experiment is the great eating right experiment. Exercise? Check. Walking and ballet, although ballet ends in two weeks. HOWEVER, I believe I'll pick up Wii Yoga and Strength training again in November, as well as the walking. Here's a thing though--I am tired of trying to be a mover at 210 or so pounds. That ain't easy. So I gotta really eat veggies, drink water, all that. It would really help if you looked forward to veggies more than you did a piece of artisan bread. Just sayin'. More importantly, if I can adopt the idea that if I'm exercising and eating right, weight is not as important as all that, well, that would be healthier for my happiness. I still think if I'm exercising and eating right, certain things will just happen.

Okay. So that's a lot of writing. It's been a while since we talked. It could be a while again, but I'll try to get back to you and let you know how the weekend goes.

Peace, love, understanding, etc.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Favorite Recent Rejection

Yes, it's a cheater entry, because I don't want to write about direct and indirect speech, or why ELA tutors should make a particular wage here.

A recent rejection for my cat poem, in the style of Beowulf. I really appreciate the nice reviews, as I think all writers do.

Our new poetry staff has reviewed "Cat Emperor." We enjoyed its playful portrayal of the royalty of felines, and found it entirely fitting with our own understanding of the species.

It goes without saying that these fine people are right about cats. :)

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Paging Frank Capra

I have some revision to do on the Oni Press proposal. The surprise short story was pretty much an Aphrodite in the shell moment, and as such it has already begun its journey into the world. To wit, Chris Cornell thinks I should write an anthology of Midwestern lycanthropy stories. Never would have seen lycanthropy as a metaphor for my life, but here we are. :)

Had my physical on Wednesday and everything looked good. Yes, my cholesterol is a tiny bit high at 108. Diet and lose weight and be active. You know the drill. The doctor said, "Is there anything that you want to know?" I said no. Well, it was true at the time.

Thursday morning was a low day. It was my mother's birthday. Now, I've missed many of my mother's birthdays, so I'm still trying to figure out why this one hit me so hard. I think that it's because it was her 75th birthday, a landmark birthday. Bryon had been a bit upset with me the night before after a conversation about his mother, in which he thought I was trying to undermine his happiness about her living arrangements, and in which I was nerding out about modals of certainty. Go figure. So I was low going to bed and I woke up lower.

The next morning I woke up desolate and jittery. And I drove to work and entered the Depressed Zone (TM). I thought about things like how the world would be better if I didn't exist. I did not visualize suicide exactly. I made no plans. I was ripe for a George Bailey moment. My existence didn't matter and I wasn't doing any good. Clarence? Of course, at the end of the day, I did bring it up to the spouse, because that's what you do when you are on depression meds. Hey, I watch pharmaceutical commercials!

The following two days I have been just fine. JUST FINE. I think I had a moment of depression and feeling like a worthless daughter. I still feel that the decision to leave my family behind is the best one. I am grieving, not guilting. But there will always be some part of me that makes me feel like I am failing, and I am less worthwhile because I am not being a good daughter to bad parents. Should that have made me feel that I didn't want to exist?

Well, no. Of course not.

There are other mitigating factors. Harsh news, busy work, tiredness. Maybe even medication at a certain level. Taking one less Xanax now. Feeling jittery with two and a Wellbutrin. We are monitoring my psychological thoughts, and I'll see David at the end of the month, the soonest I could get in. Depression and anxiety are going to be a constant negotiation. We don't get better. It's sort of like we just go into remission.

And it's goofy. I look at all the wonderful friends I have, and all the ways in which I make a difference and enjoy my life. I have no idea why this happened. It was truly kind of a scary thing.


I would really, really like to credit teaching for bringing me back from the depression edge. Part of me wanted to stay home and stew in my juices, but work made me work and reach out, and I did some great teaching and some students even thanked me for it. Even though I was low, I kept moving and talking and I grew back into it, leaving the bad thoughts behind. I love my work.

That said, how strange would it be for me to say that I can now see myself doing something different? Because my thoughts are really elsewhere these days. I'm not phoning it in, but you know I would like for Bryon and I to be spending more time together, doing things that matter.

Okay. I'll keep you posted, guys. I'm on it. I'm not thinking I don't matter and shouldn't exist. I just did for about 3 hours on Thursday, and it passed.


The new short story is circulating, so I have 11 making the rounds. Several are close to trunking, EXCEPT I keep finding ONE MORE MARKET. I am back to Pawn of Isis.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Writing, Cleaning, Anticipating

Hey guys. The Oni Press script is done. Just waiting on you to open again, Oni Press. Whenever.

Today I wrote a new short story. Oh, I was cranky and work had been beating on me. I got to my writing time late and had to go back early. So, I whipped out 1170 therapeutic words about our recent experiences with stomachs. Except take out the words "gastric cancer" and insert the word "lycanthropy." Strangely effective for me. I don't know how it will be for all of you.

Both of those projects are currently in the eyes on stage, and then the short will go out soon. Oni Press as soon as can be.

I have one more writing day in September. Should I write another short, or should I get back to the novel? I am just not going to be boxed in, man.


This weekend, the spouse and I cleaned our garage. Friday morning I am going to see about six toilet seats (could I really be Reggie Lass?), an old air conditioner, Mr. Henrick's tomato cages, and a wealth of other junk we no longer use hauled away. My job should be pointing. :) But our garage will look kind of empty after that. We have a few chemicals to get rid of. We recycled the old tv. The oil is going soon, and there's some donation stuff. But yeah, we've almost got that summer (yes, I did say summer) project done.

We are still waiting for the demolishing of our bathroom. In 2-3 weeks, they tell us. I expect that will be all kinds of fun. Yes, sarcasm. That button still works.


Paradise Icon and Icon come up soon. I am working my way through the workshop stories. Some nice stuff this year.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Latest Month

November 2015


RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Naoto Kishi